Are you in the market for a brand-new Land Rover Defender but have been hesitant because it doesn’t really look like a shitbox that’s been neglected under a moist tarp and only driven in brutal Michigan winters? Of course you have, and before today, all I could offer you was my condolences. Today is different, though. Thanks to the wizards at Niels van Roij Design, I can offer you something much better: hope. Yes, hope that you too can have a brand-new Defender with real rust on it.
Sure, the new Defender is an aluminum unibody design and isn’t really susceptible to rust, or even the corrosion that plagued the steel chassis/aluminum body old-school Defenders, but that’s not stopping old Neils van R.
The company’s latest press release proudly crows this colossal achievement:
PRESS RELEASE HERITAGE CUSTOMS:
FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION LOOKING FOR A RUSTY DEFENDER?
HERITAGE CUSTOMS HAS GOT YOUR BACK!
OFFERING CORROSION ON THE 2021 LAND ROVER
That’s right, they’ve got your back, and are offering, via a newly developed process, the ability to make parts (specifically the diamond plate panels on the hood and the side vents) all rusty without having to undergo the usual process, a night of spooning on a filthy couch with our own David Tracy.
Here’s how they describe it:
Studio for carchitecture Heritage Customs has developed a unique metal binding technology. With this product it is possible for Heritage Customs to paint all types of metal on all interior and exterior surfaces of their Valiance* and Vintage** models. Through spraying a thin layer of aluminium, brass, bronze, titanium, zinc or even gold is applied, which then assumes the same flexibility as the parent material and will hold its qualities for 20 years. Following application, the studio for carchitecture can brush, polish, sand and oxidise (rust) the material - generating an even more outspoken look.
Ah, the “outspoken” look of rust! Who knew so many broke-ass bastards in rusty cars were that “outspoken?”
Here’s how Neils himself describes it:
“...this Valiance’s pièce de résistance: the rusted bonnet diamond plates and side vents. These parts were oxidised through an accelerated process, after the metal was painted on. Customers can also choose to, for instance, brush or polish the metal. It can be protected against rust, alternatively we let the natural course of corrosion start. We can then halt corrosion at any desired moment: sealing the metal will stop the wear.”
These Dutchmen have become as gods, stopping and starting corrosion at will.
This process brings up a lot of complicated feelings and questions. I mean, the rust doesn’t actually look bad, but I’m having the same visceral reactions my grandfather would have to a pair of expensive, pre-ripped jeans: Why would you want this?
Rust is a miserable, relentless plague we’re always desperately trying to keep at bay! There’s something so unsettlingly decadent about rich people co-opting the visuals of wear and decay that less-well-off-people are always trying to avoid, kind of like how Baron Harkonnen in David Lynch’s adaption of Dune had a doctor to cultivate skin diseases for him.
I get the appeal of patina, but the whole point of patina is that it’s earned; it’s the visual record of a car’s life lived, and faking patina, especially in a way that just isn’t likely to exist like this on this particular car, at this particular time, but whatever.
I guess if you’re so rich that a life of ease has created within you the perverse desire to selectively place artisan-grown rust on your car, then this is fantastic news.
For the rest of us, there’s always Michigan Craigslist.